Renting your first apartment is an exciting time in any young person’s life, but it is also important to carefully plan the move itself and how to furnish the apartment to make sure that you have what you need when you need it.

While what a first-time renter needs will vary from person to person, based on your tastes and what you already own, there are a few general pointers to keep in mind when it comes time to ready yourself for the big move.

Start Room by Room

Instead of trying to list everything you could possibly need, start off small, and break what you need down room by room. Start with one room, and think of all the things you might normally do or need for that room to be completely functional. In the bathroom, for example, you’ll have your toothbrush, but you’ll want a toothbrush holder to keep the toothbrush off dirty surfaces.

You’ll have a shower, but you’ll need a shower curtain, liner, mat, and mat or towel for the outside of the shower as well to keep you safe and the water inside the shower. You’ll need towels and washcloths, toilet paper, and tissues. And don’t forget about cleaning supplies, particularly a toilet bowl cleaner, or emergency supplies, like a plunger. Go through this step by step, room by room to complete your list of “needs” and “wants” before going first apartment shopping.

A Good Bed

Going the route of the futon or even a “comfortable” sleeping couch is common for renters, particularly first-timers. While sleeping on a couch or futon may be more economical, it’s certainly not the best decision for your health. You will spend approximately one-third or more of your time in your apartment lying in your bed, so you need to make it a good one. You don’t want to have your own horror stories of back problems caused by the rickety old futon of your younger days.

Buy the best bed you can afford. This doesn’t mean shelling out your entire savings for Tempur-Pedic or putting something expensive on layaway. Shop for a mattress with decent support for your back and that is the correct firmness for your comfort level. You can find mattresses and bedframes for fairly cheap on Craigslist if you can’t find them for reasonable prices at a local store or online.

Quality Appliances

Sure, that $20 blender sounds like a great buy, but the savings aren’t so great when you consider that you’ll likely have to buy three of them as each breaks over the next couple of years. While putting up a little extra for your appliances may cost more upfront, the money you’ll save from not having to constantly replace them makes good over time. It’s an investment, but it’s one that will be well worth it when you have those same quality appliances years down the line.

Home Security

If you thought home security systems were just for your parents, think again. No matter how old you are or how much you own, the safety of you, those you live with, and your possessions should always be of utmost importance. These security systems can be as minimal as securing your windows and doors with extra locks and deadbolts or as intensive as installing a home alarm system or security monitoring cameras.

For anything that needs to be installed in or on the property, it is best to speak with your landlord first before shelling out any money, as he or she needs to be on board with the changes as well. Your landlord might even pay for some of the security improvements, which is another reason to talk to him or her first.

Once you have all the right permissions, you can go ahead and start implementing heightened security changes to protect yourself and your home from potential intruders. To help you along on your search, you can use the SafeWise security system finder tool to find the right system for you and your new apartment.

Use Common Sense

Certain items on your checklist will dictate the need for others, and you just need common sense to cover all of your bases. For example, if you buy a TV for your living room or bedroom, you’re going to need some sort of stand, table, or dresser to put it on. If you’re going to buy baking pans to help you cook, you’re going to need potholders to get them in and out of the oven.

Also, before going crazy and buying too many things, such as appliances and knickknacks for your kitchen, you need to make sure that you have the space; this is an apartment after all, not your family’s home. You need to first make sure that you have the counter space or storage for all of these items before going out and buying a toaster oven, coffeemaker, blender, microwave, and electric can opener, only to realize you only have space for one or two of them. Know the space and limits of your apartment, and keep these numbers in mind as you shop.

Once you have your new space in mind, get your checklist ready, and prepare for the next chapter of your life away from your parents’ home.
Everything you need for your first apartment

Written by Carolyn Heneghan

Carolyn is a nutrition and environmental crusader who loves using and exploring technology almost as much as she enjoys writing about it. Learn more

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